• Halloween image for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley Hale
    Things That Suck


    It surprised me that Halloween was my breaking point. Here’s the thing – moving to Colombia in August was really hard. Seemingly everything was complicated and the kids took a long time to get even remotely comfortable with life here. People were super friendly, which was wonderful, but it didn’t really help much when (for example) I was trying to help a teenage girl navigate middle school social structures in another country and language. The kids each had their moments when they were sad and wanted to go home. Claire’s lasted the longest, but the volleyball team seemed to have done something incredible that really lifted her up. Once she…

  • Grocery cart for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley Hale
    From the Archives

    From the Archives: You’re Doing the Hard Stuff

    One of the first things my dad did when he moved in with us was to take over the breakfast duties. He was not a chef, but his eggs were always perfectly fried, and every morning he met me in the kitchen as the sun was rising and said, “ready for breakfast?” I ate little at that time, but I said yes, more because I wanted to remember what it felt like to sit with him as the day began. His movements in my kitchen reminded me exactly of the way he’d inhabited our kitchen back in Oregon, slamming the cabinets just a bit harder than was needed and jangling…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley Hale hugs husband Chris at wedding
    Love and Chris

    What If It’s Better?

    One of my favorite things to do is to read fiction. After a break when the kids were babies, I started to read fiction again in 2017, the year that Shawn got sick. Obviously, when he was in the hospital, my reading was put on hold, and once he died I found I couldn’t focus long enough to do much reading of anything. But as I began to heal, I also began to read again. Nonfiction was impossible for me at first, so I stuck with beach reads and dystopian fiction, my two favorites. Once Chris and I were seriously dating, he marveled at how I could get lost in…

  • Shoe store for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley Hale
    From the Archives

    From the Archives: I Just Remembered That It’s All Real

    “None of my clothes fit,” I said one morning as I stripped off the jeans that gaped at my waist. It had been a week since Shawn died and more than six weeks since I had eaten a normal meal. Kelly and Paige both sat on the edge of my bed, watching me throw clothes out of my closet. They were still staying with me, helping me get through the terrible tasks that followed the funeral. We’d come upstairs in the hope that I could clean out Shawn’s closet, but I felt overwhelmed after taking just one flannel shirt off of a hanger. “This can wait,” Kelly said, and I…

  • Campsite for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley Hale
    From the Archives

    From the Archives: Kelly and Paige

    Two years after my mom died, I met my two best friends, Kelly and Paige, at the UCLA family camp in the San Bernardino Mountains where we all worked in the summer before we graduated. Kelly made french fries at the sandwich shop and Paige ran the art center and I organized games for elementary school kids. We all lived together with a few dozen other college kids in a dorm with walls so thin we could hear every word of each other’s conversations, even with the doors closed. “Someone is making out next door to me, but I’m not sure who!” I’d scream-whisper to one of them in the…

  • Claire, daughter of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley Hale, walks with umbrella

    Just Like You

    Claire made the volleyball team last month. To be quite honest, Chris and I were pretty surprised. Yes, she’s a decent athlete, but she’s never played volleyball before and there were many kids who tried out. On top of all this, her Spanish is pretty limited, and the coach doesn’t speak English. We don’t really know why she was picked, but she was elated. “I get to go to Cartagena!” she shouted, as she announced her team placement. Yep, this is what it meant that she made the team. At the end of the season, we would be sending her across Colombia. Without us. But that wasn’t the hard part,…